A six-legged walking robot controlled by the Subsumption Architecture, implemented in Occam running on a Transputer

For my MSc by research, which I carried out in 1992-1994 at the University of Kent at Canterbury, I developed a six-legged robot:

It used two servo motors per leg, in a similar arrangement to Genghis, developed at MIT. The low level control of the motors was carried out by a 68HC11 microcontroller and the high level control by a Transputer. The Transputer was a processor popular in the UK at the time, which had been developed specifically to do parallel processing, using a language called Occam. It was a very nice system to use (the parallelism was all built in) and I'm rather sad that it's no longer around. I was interested in the Subsumption Architecture approach to behavior control of robots (developed by Rod Brooks, et al. at MIT), where the structure was many separate communicating processes. This was very similar to Occam's model, so I developed a way of implementing the Subsumption Architecture in Occam, including inhibition and suppression nodes. I wrote an Occam program to control the walking, where there was no central control, each leg indicated to the next what state it was in and the neighbors would decide whether to take a step or not. When the robot started walking, it would move one leg at a time in a wave gait. As it got up to speed, it gradually transformed into a tripod gait.

Unfortunately, I did not write any papers on it, which I regret. I still have my MSc thesis, so if you want further information, email me.

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